First “Prize Digital for Development” for three innovative development projects in the digital sphere
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo today awarded the first “Digital for Development Prize”. The three winning projects target e-learning in the Palestinian Territories, the fight against counterfeit pharmaceuticals in Africa and solar energy in Cameroun.
The 'Prize Digital for Development (D4D)' is a new, two-yearly initiative launched by the Royal Museum for Central Africa with the support of Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo and the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation.
The D4D Prize rewards initiatives that use digitization as a lever for development. Projects and ideas are taken into account that use the potential of new technologies in an innovative manner as a way of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Alexander De Croo: “These three laureates of this first “Digital for Development Prize” each make a difference for people’s lives in their very own way: better education opportunities for youngsters in the Palestinian Territories, saving lives while fighting counterfeit medicines and healthy, green energy supplies for families in Africa. Our country wants to be a pioneer in the use of digital technologies and big data in development policy. These laureates are the perfect Ambassadors to live up to that ambition. They show how we can be great as a small country: by improving peoples’ lives through digital innovation.”
The D4D Prize consists of three categories:
- The innovative idea/ startup - ‘iStartUp’
- The success story - ‘iStandOut’
- The public award - 'iChoose'
In the categories ‘iStartUp’ (innovative idea) as well as ‘iStandOut’ (success story), the jury nominates 3 initiatives out of which 1 laureate is chosen.
In the category 'iChoose’ a third laureate is chosen online, by the public.
The laureates for the “Digital for Development Prize 2016 “ are:
iStandout Category: The development of an e-learning curriculum in the Palestinian Territories
This project by the Belgian Development Agency (BTC) and the Palestinian Ministry for Education and Higher Education introduces ICT to 288 schools in the Palestinian Territories. The aim is to strengthen student-centred learning and allow the students to obtain digital skills. The reinforcement of other capacities such as critical thinking, learning how to learn, problem solving and global citizenship was an additional focus. In the context of the project, more than 1200 teachers were trained and a digital teachers-portal was developed. (www.elearn.edu.ps). About 500 students also developed mobile applications in the framework of the project.
iStartUp Category: AksantiMed (e-health)
AksantiMed, a collaboration between the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), the University of Liège, the University of Kinshasa and SOS Médecins de Nuit, has engaged in a battle against counterfeit medicines. Yearly almost 120 000 Africans die because of the use of counterfeit medicines. AksantiMed is a mobile application that allows patients to check the pharmaceutical product. Patients can verify the unique 12-digit code printed on the medication via text message or through the AksantiMed application. When validating the code, the patient also immediately receives the information linked to the product (type, commercial name, expiration date, product recall or health warnings). Both patients, pharmacists and telecom providers are enthused with the first test results of AksantiMed.
iChoose Category, Public Award: Solarly
Two out of three families in Sub-Saharan Africa suffer from a lack of access to electricity. In total this comprises around 635 million people. The majority of them live in rural areas and spend roughly 110 euros on inefficient, expensive, antiquated and often unhealthy ways of accessing electricity. The World Health Organisation estimates that this leads to around 600 000 yearly deaths due to interior pollution caused by the use of fossil fuels. Half of them are children under the age of five.
The Solarly project develops and installs affordable solar stations between 50W and 250W that grant families in African rural areas access to electricity. They use adjusted payment plans (“Rent-to-Own” and “Pay-As-You-Go”) so people can acquire solar stations without having to change their financial habits. Families pay a weekly or monthly predefined lump sum for the use of the solarstation. Finally they become owners of their solar station. Additionally they receive a guarantee and Solarly offers them real-time monitoring and services.